An US air strike killed as many as eight Afghan policemen outside the embattled provincial capital of Uruzgan province, Afghan officials said on Monday, as security forces, supported by US strikes, battle with resurgent Taliban militants.
An initial air strike killed one police employees, while a follow up strike targeted first responders, killing at least seven, said Rahimullah Khan, commander of the military reserve police unit in Uruzgan.
Uruzgan deputy police chief Mohammed Qawi Omari, another official, get the death toll at six but also reported the police were killed by a foreign air strike.
The US military command in Kabul confirmed its warplanes had conducted an air strike in the place, but said “individuals were targeted by them firing on, and presenting a threat to” Afghan national security forces.
“We don’t have any more info on who those individuals might have been or why they were assaulting ANDSF (Afghan national defense and security forces),” US military representative Brigadier General Charles Cleveland said in a statement.
“US, coalition, and Afghan forces have the right to self-defense and in this case were responding to an immediate threat.”
Afghan officials said they were investigating the assault and were in connection with the US-led coalition.
Afghan security forces, supported by American air strikes and military advisers that are international, are fighting Taliban militants who’ve fought a 15-year insurgency against the Western-backed government in Kabul.
Taliban fighters entered Uruzgan’s capital city, Tarin Kot, in early September, according to provincial officials, before being pushed back by security forces.